Sybase Announces New Packaged, Vertical Database Solutions

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Sybase Inc., Emeryville, CA, a database management company, has announced it will make available later this month a series of industry-specific business intelligence applications based on its Sybase Warehouse Studio.

The applications -- which include decision-support applications, data management and administration functions, queries, reports and graphs for business-intelligence tools -- are specifically tailored for the retail banking, insurance, telecommunications, utilities, retail, credit card, healthcare, and distribution industries.

Banking customers "will be able to check the viability of cross selling financial products, rank customers by risk or profitability or drill down to marketing campaigns to measure their return on investment," said Eric Miels, senior vice president and general manager of the company's business intelligence division. "But, healthcare customers will be to rank high-risk groups by demographic profile or analyze relationships between prescribed medicines and recovery rates and rank the best health providers."

These products stem from a partnership Sybase formed last month with the Data Warehouse Network, an Ireland-based provider of industry-specific business intelligence applications.

Sybase's systems are database independent, which means that they can be deployed in environments where any major database is located -- such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Informix and Sybase.

But Sybase is hoping customers will choose Sybase's product to work with the applications. "Sybase has a pretty good strategy," said Michael Schiff, director of data warehousing strategies at Current Analysis Inc., Vienna, VA. "Even though the systems are open, it will be an entry point for Sybase to get into a company and then sell them a database. Sybase had the foresight to buy a company that understands these specific industries and who developed these vertical packages. Now, maybe a year from now Sybase will follow up and sell customers its database."

Schiff added that Sybase had a data warehouse presence several years ago when the industry was coming into play, "but people have forgotten that."

In addition, unlike IBM and NCR, these verticals are not something you would pick up to do "intensive data mining. IBM and NCR have very robust data mining strategies, and I would not put [Sybase's offerings] into the same class," Schiff said.

But, he said that Sybase is not necessarily trying to compete with these companies. In some ways, he said, these systems can be complementary.

"Sybase's solution may be something that sits on the user's desk, whereas the other systems may be looked at by professional analysts."

Warehouse Studio packages from Sybase for banking, telecommunications, insurance and healthcare will be available later this month, and applications for credit cards, utilities, retail and distribution are scheduled to be available in April.

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